Are you thinking of having a small and intimate wedding this year?  Maybe this is because your budget is tight or maybe you are living overseas with only your local friends able to come.  Or lets face it Covid-19 has probably put you in this position.  Whatever your reason  a small wedding does not mean a low key or boring wedding.  It can actually mean the opposite and we are here to show you how to make it extra special.

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1. Take your invitations to the next level

A small wedding means you can up the budget on everything!  After all you now only need to buy invites, dinner, favours etc. for up to thirty people instead of hundreds. For invites this means you can go for extra elaborate designs that your guests can keep forever.  You could get hand drawn invitations or designs with lots of embellishments like wax sealslace and ribbons.   Whatever your dream invitation is you can probably afford it for a small wedding though you definitely need to keep your budget in mind as these costs often add up.

Another possible invitation option is making the invites yourself.  This is always a good budget wedding idea but with only a handful of guests needing invitations you might actually have time to make them or at least hand write them.   So if you like the idea of making your own elaborate wedding invitations check out Pure Invitation that have diy invitation packs with everything you need.   

Also with a small wedding of only your closest family and friends there will be lots of people that you will want to include without having them at your actual wedding day.  For these people you can get announcement cards to send out after the wedding.  These will probably cost a bit more more because you will need lots of them.  However, if you are not buying these people dinner you can probably afford to send a lovely rustic announcement card instead.  For cheaper options check out Vistaprint or Optimal Print which can cost between 50p and £1 per invite.  Or for more fancy options you could try EtsyNorma&Dorothy or Rose Mood.

Upgrading your invitations can make a small wedding extra special. Image shows white invitations with ribbon
Image courtesy of Pixabay

2. Pick a destination or unusual venue for your small wedding

In 2020 a destination wedding will probably not include the travel to overseas places with immaculate beaches and never ending sunshine that you imagine when someone says destination wedding to you.  However, it can still mean that you can choose a stunning location for your wedding.   There are heaps of beautiful wedding venues in the UK from beaches in Cornwall to castles in Scotland and farm land in Wales.  Whatever you are after in your small wedding the UK can provide it.  After all Hawaii might have endless sunshine but it doesn’t have dramatic castles!  

You can also use your small guest list as an excuse to pick an unusual venue that could never accommodate more guests.  For this think of beaches or landscapes that you love or a restaurant you have always wanted to go to for your reception.  Although you cannot legally marry in an unlicensed venue in the UK don’t let that hold you back.  You can always sign the paperwork at a registry office and hire a celebrant to do your wedding ceremony where you want it.  

Low waste weddings - Castle which could be used for a small wedding

3. Stay together to make your small wedding extra special

Maybe booking a beautiful house for everyone to stay before and after the ceremony will make your small wedding extra special.  This is also a great way to get your family and friends to mix and get to know each other.  After a weekend staying in a house together you will be one big happy family. 

For a rustic feel you can find lots of stunning houses on Airbnb or you could find a hotel with room for everyone.  Just maybe think about booking something different for your wedding night so you can have some time to enjoy being married on your own.   

Of course you will need to take health and safety precautions into account when making these plans as you will probably be mixing your social bubbles.  In this case it might be good to limit your guest numbers to the bare minimum.  However, if your wedding planning for 2021 you might be able to expand your group safely. 

Brick cottage with a wooden fence
Photo by Simon Sikorski from Pexels

4. Buy gifts instead of wedding favours

With only those that are closest to you coming to the wedding you can probably afford to splash out on extra special wedding favours.  If you are having a destination wedding you might consider giving out personalised welcome baskets with items that might be useful for the wedding.  These could include flipflops for when the shoes are bit painful, a refillable water bottle to keep hydrated, hot chocolate kit to enjoy after the wedding and maybe some cosmetics or perfumes.  To make your guests Covid-19 safe you could also include hand sanitiser and a mask.  

If you are having a more local wedding you could still give out some extra special gifts.  Maybe you could give out jewelry, bottles of champagne or perfume for the women and ties or cuff links to the men.  Whatever you decide make sure you include the most important gift – a thank you card or note.

stack of presents which could be given at a small wedding
Photo courtesy of Pexels

5. Have the best food at your small wedding

Table with plates of food and wine glasses on top
Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

A wedding is often a strange day where you buy dinner for everyone you and your partner know.  This is understandably expensive and as such you might have opted for a buffet or less expensive main if you have hundreds of guests to feed.  However, with only a handful of guests you can splash out on potentially the best meal of your life.  You can add extra appetisers and more dessert options.  Or you might have steak and lobster or larger portions.  Also you could give your guests different main meal options and provide them with menu cards at their tables.  The sky is the limit when it comes to wedding food and it is pretty exciting to consider the options when you are not spending thousands of pounds!  

6. Get your dream cake for your small wedding

When you are looking at wedding cake for a large wedding you are in theory trying to find one that will feed hundreds of people.  This means you are looking at a few tiers of cake, icing and decorations.  However, if you are jut having a cake for a few guests you can probably get away with one tier of deliciousness.  This could mean that you can afford a more elaborate cake or more expensive ingredients.  Or with only one tier to contend with it could mean you go with the more budget option of not getting a official wedding cake at all.  So you could make the cake yourself if you have the skills.  After all a plain Victoria sponge cake is very rustic and delicious.  Or dare I say it?  You could buy a cake from the supermarket or your local bakery.  

Two tier white cake with red flowers and green leaves. Perfect cake for a small wedding
Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

7. Order up a cocktail bar for your small wedding

Do you like a good cocktail? Or maybe you are a whiskey or beer connoisseur?  If so your small wedding might be the perfect opportunity to indulge yourself by hiring a bar.  There are heaps of cool rustic options online including bars in old horse trailers and caravans.  What could be more rustic than that? Whatever you choose it will definitely add a cool vibe to your wedding and create a fun space for your guests to hang out.  To make the bar even more special you can add some rustic furniture, lamps or decorations to really make the bar a feature of your wedding.  Also with Covid-19 restrictions in mind bar staff are going to become more important as they can reduce the risk of spreading the virus at your wedding.  As I’m afraid the days of self service drinks stations and buffets are over, at least for the next little while. 

View of cocktail drinks on a wooden bar
Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

8. Small weddings can have fabulous decorations

With less guests to cater for you can really go to town with your small wedding decorations.  For your ceremony you can go for your dream arbor or arch or have fresh flower installations from your local florist.  For the reception you could get antique crockery sets for each guest, large trees as your centerpieces, lanterns for each table, personalised wooden place settings or arrangements of dried flowers.  Really for a small wedding whatever you can think of you can probably buy or have time to make, when it comes to the decorations.  Also when the wedding is over you won’t be stuck with hundreds of decorations you will never use again.  As everyone can probably find space for a few lanterns or trees but not a hundred of them.

Wedding ceremony space with wood panelling and flowers
Photo by Joel Paim from Pexels

9. Personalise everything at your small wedding

Not only can you have amazing decorations you can also personalise each aspect of your wedding.  You can get custom signs with your names and date made up for the venue.  For your reception you could have custom made centerpieces with your names on, personalised wedding favours and you can even personalise your cake stand.  

Wedding sign for a small wedding
Photo by Michael Morse from Pexels

10. Add some entertainment

Fireworks display to end a small wedding
Photo by Peter Spencer from Pexels

Currently entertainment for a wedding in the UK is a bit tricky.  If you hire a band they will count towards the number of people you can have at your wedding.  Also you are not currently allowed to dance at your wedding!  However, maybe this just requires you to be a bit more creative.  Instead of hiring a band make a Spotify playlist and get your best speaker out.  As no one is going to dance the music can be played a good gentle volume that will allow conversation to flourish.  Also try and think of some contactless games like hopscotch and hide and seek for the kids to play and maybe the limbo for adults.  If your budget allows you could hire a clown or circus performer or you could set off fireworks.  Whatever you choose have fun with it!   

So do you have some good ideas for your small wedding now?  Let us know what you are planning in the comments!

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